Ceramic Tile: Reborn
The world of ceramics has evolved driven by the advent of material research and digital technology. This has reinvigorated the tile industry and has seen its rebirth in recent years. Nowadays, tile is no longer perceived as an economical option for natural stones but has earned a place of its own, as a viable (if not ideal) flooring option for almost all projects one can think of.
Here are the major reasons tiles, especially porcelain tiles, are a design professional’s best go-to-flooring material.
Inspires Unlimited Design
Digital imaging and printing technology ushered in an endless variation of design, colour, and surfaces. Marble, Stone, Wood and other materials are perfectly rendered in a myriad of colours, shades and tonalities. Surfaces and reliefs are so lifelike that one is drawn to touch and caress them and be swept away to another space and time. Never has one’s creativity been supported by these unlimited options in ceramic tiles inspired by nature as well as drawn from so called modern materials like glass, metal and cement.
Available in Various Shapes and Sizes
Gone are the days that tiles just come predominantly in squares and small sizes. Nowadays, tiles come in various shapes and sizes - mosaics, hexagons, bricks, and just recently slabs that are 1x3 meters in size and just 4 to 6.5mm thick. For this reason alone, tile is a very versatile material that affords one unlimited design possibilities.
Tile’s technical advantages are numerous, highly desirable and totally appropriate for today’s demanding projects. Since porcelain tiles are baked in high temperatures, it is virtually non-porous, structurally sound and very durable. Tiles can definitely last a lifetime. It is also ideal for various applications whether dry, wet, and even when submerged.
Unlike natural stone where one needs to do a regular extensive cleaning and polishing procedure, porcelain tiles being impervious and non-porous (0.5% water absorption), make daily cleaning a breeze. All one needs is a clean mop and clean water with a dash of neutral soap from time to time. Since no harsh chemicals are required for its maintenance, it is also eco-friendly. Furthermore, it is virtually stain-proof, scratch-proof and chemical-proof.
In Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) Green Report, it featured a study done by a construction consulting firm Scharf-Godfrey comparing the life-cycle costs of various flooring types. The per year cost for each flooring type (per square foot) includes installation, maintenance, and removal cost. Their comparison showed that ceramic-based flooring materials proved the most economical at $0.32 to $0.35 compared to marble ($0.61), hardwood ($0.42), carpet ($1.08), and laminate ($0.71), to name a few. This study* underscores the reason why ceramic tile is the natural choice for sustainable design and long-term value.
Modern tile manufacturing techniques are now very responsive to the specific requirements of a particular building. Tiles are suitable to high traffic areas that may cause damage and scratches to less-worthy materials. They are also produced with anti-slip properties ideal for exterior applications that may become wet from time to time and prevent accidents and falls. In the event of fire, tiles will not emit toxic fumes that can aggravate the situation. These benefits are again unique to tiles and are worth considering for various types of projects.
With LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) architecture coming to the fore, use of tiles may lead to green credits owing to tile’s use of recycled materials during production, being inherently VOC-free (Volatile Organic Compounds) and promotes indoor air quality. Modern manufacturers can even produce tiles with anti-bacterial properties adding to its long list of desirable benefits that no other flooring material can equal.
All in all, tiles are unequalled in its versatility of providing the most options and benefits to any project at hand. Recent technological advancement in printing and material research paved the way to new designs, textures and functional properties that has expanded further its use and application. This renewed interest and growing popularity of ceramic tiles can only spell grander designs and functional spaces that will be admired by generations to come.
Reference: TCNA’s Tile: The Natural Choice
Images: (1) Fondovalle Match, (2) 41Zero42 Otto, (3) Fondovalle Tracks, (4) Unicom Starker Muse, (5) La Fabbrica Dolomiti, (6) La Fabbrica Orchestra, (7) 41Zero42 OttoHeader: Fondovalle InfinitoBackground: Fondovalle Dream